Mom’s Choice Awards is excited to announce another post in our interview series where we chat with the inventors, designers, publishers, and others behind some of our favorite family-friendly products.
Hello, Mom’s Choice readers! Welcome to another interview where we sit down with one of our amazing honorees to speak with them about their award-winning products and services! For this interview, we had the absolute pleasure of speaking with Marianne Reed, author of the MCA award-winning book, The Boogies And The Woogies! The Boogies And The Woogies is a lighthearted but meaningful and extremely timely story that will help children and adults alike to begin to imagine a world where love wins even when it seems like the divide is just too great. This is a book that needs to be on everyone’s bookshelf! The illustrations alone are enough to captivate little readers, and the lessons taught throughout are sure to make an impact, while also appealing to adults with the message that we have so much to learn from children and their views on life. Keep reading to find out more about Marianne and her fabulous, award-winning book, The Boogies And The Woogies!
MCA: Hi Marianne, thank you so much for joining us today, and a huge congratulations on your Mom’s Choice Award! Our role as adults is to impart invaluable life lessons to our children, but we often forget about the lessons they can teach us. The Boogies And The Woogies is such a special book because it shows us just that, while still providing amazing lessons and appeal to children. Can we first start the interview out by finding out a little bit about the author behind such a unique children’s book story?
Marianne: You could say I have had several careers. Starting out, I was a graphic artist working for a local magazine, print companies and later a major newspaper. Later I totally switched gears and became a pediatric nurse. Then while my daughter was growing up, I took another turn and worked as a tailor in my home sewing business. When I closed my business, I began drawing again and writing children’s books.
MCA: You are a woman of many talents! It is amazing that you have been able to do so many different things in your life. Was it your career as a graphic artist that eventually inspired you to start writing children’s books?
Marianne: Besides being in the graphic arts field, I’ve studied painting and drawing and have always been so inspired by the artwork of great children’s book illustrators. Chris Van Allsburg, Arthur Rackham, Beatrix Potter… so much incredible art has been generated in the field of childlren’s literature! I’m also inspired by the simple but elegant stories that can touch the heart of a child and maybe encourage, affirm or comfort them in some way. There are so many, but one I remember loving was Thidwick The Big Hearted Moose by Dr. Seuss. And anything by Leo Lionni who, in the sixties and seventies, wrote and illustrated so many simple and elegant stories about existential subjects in the form of fables which appeal to adults as well as children.
MCA: That must have been where you got your inspiration for writing The Boogies and the Woogies, which also appeals to adults as well as children.
Marianne: Having spent time around children both as a mother and a nurse, I guess you could say I’ve developed a deep respect for them and their unique ability to see the world through the eyes of love. The story of the Boogies and The Woogies is my way of both showing that love is more important than being right, and at the same time giving them credit for already knowing that better than anyone.
MCA: Tell us more about the universal and timely theme of The Boogies and the Woogies!
Marianne: As we are all experiencing such division and social turmoil across the planet, this theme of shared humanity is on many of our minds. Sometimes it can seem like the divide is just too great to ever bridge. My story, if nothing else, does give a moment of hope that there is always a way to get back to harmony. At least relative harmony! It’s funny but my book seems to be very popular with adults now. So much so that my hometown of Hamilton, Ohio has virtually adopted it as their very own! It started when my sister, dressed as a Woogie, and I showed up at a town hall meeting and read the book. We had everyone up dancing at the end! Since then Hamilton has purchased hundreds of books to distribute to children across the city. We’ve done public readings and dance parties in the street, and this spring we are planning a large scale dance on the bridge that connects one side of town with the other. It’s a strong symbol of our desire to come together as members of the human family and just for a moment, set differences aside and dance.
MCA: That is such a wonderful and important message, thank you for sharing it with us! Speaking of the timeliness of The Boogies and the Woogies‘ theme, why is the message of this book so important, especially in today’s climate?
Marianne: I think it’s a little scary when you feel like you are not allowed to hold opinions on something without causing someone else to get angry. I don’t want to change anyone’s mind about anything because I feel we all have a perfect right to our opinions. This story tries to cut past all that by offering a third option –shifting focus to what we do have in common. We are all people! Doing that just every once in a while might just be a really good thing to do.
MCA: We couldn’t agree more! Tell us what the response to The Boogies and the Woogies has been like, especially from readers in your hometown of Hamilton, Ohio!
Marianne: As I mentioned, I’m getting a ton of positive and supportive feedback! Especially from educators, and city officials who feel that this book offers a fun and healing message without being preachy and while also remaining completely politically neutral.
MCA: If you could ensure readers of your book walk away with one main lesson, what would it be?
Marianne: I guess there are a couple of themes going on. One being about remembering our shared humanity and how good it can feel to find that little piece of common ground with someone you thought was so different from yourself. But I must say that the message closest to my heart is that ultimately our children, in their purity and innocence can show us the way. Yes, there are many things we can teach them in life, but we can learn so much from them too.
MCA: That we can! Thank you for a delightful interview, Marianne. We hope we get to speak with you again soon!
You can learn more about Marianne Reed and her award-winning book, The Boogies and the Woogies, by visiting her MCA Shop pages.